San Francisco Baned bottled water and led the way to the end of one of the biggest marketing scams ever invented.

With a few notable exceptions (like places where fracking is allowed) water in the United States is high quality and safe to drink. We in the Hudson Valley and Capitol District are especially blessed with some of the best drinking water in the world.

Consider the largest scale marketing of the most abundant free resources on the planet!

Great marketing hinging on our wish to be cool.

In the 1970’s Perrier made it’s way to store shelves in my college town, West Laffayette, Indiana. The bottle was so sleek, green glass, and it was FRENCH!  I wondered much hiper could a Hoosier ever hope to be than to serve bottles of this amazing slightly bubbly water at her next party. Apparently there were other’s who felt the same. Perrier became synonymous with high end parties and was the worlds first “water” status drink.

By the early 80’s the US was boogying to the ever faster and better fitness craze. Folks were going to gyms and buying terry cloth head bands and monogramed sweat bands for their wrists. Gym socks with 2 lines of horizontal stripes were standard. Enter the plastic “Sports Bottle”. Designed and marketed to take to your workout so you could have a cold and clean drink and stay away from that nasty water fountain. Bottles of H2O sprouted up in delis all across NYC and began to morph into spout top bottles, streamlined and more lumpy shapes, kids sizes, thicker then thiner than glass, Hawaiian, Fiji, square, cylindical, bomb, and grippable baby bottle shapes. Labels spoke volumes about what the drinker believed. Your brand of water defined you.

There are now water aisles in grocery stores.  Shelves and shelves of gleaming dramatically shaped bottles from a places we always wanted to go.

Reality: Water shipped 3000 miles from European nations, Pacific Islands, from deep in the ground or from mountain waterfalls is H2O.

Just plain old water. The rest is hype.

When a bottle of water is shipped from Fiji (tastes just like water) or Union New Jersey (where the water from many office coolers in Westchester comes from) or from the proposed Niagra Bottling Plant in Kingston, New York it takes fuel to move it.  This releases carbon into the air which contributes to Climte Change which makes us all want to drink more water! While you are imagining you are now intimate with the mountain geyser pictured on the front of your bottle, try picturing the enormous soot belching water truck that actually delivers water to your store or work place.  Delivering water through under ground pipes using the force of gravity is a far easier more sensible environmental solution!

At the other end of the marketing spiral is the illusion that recycling these botles keeps our environment clean. Actually the plastic in water bottles has a limited number of times it can be recycled. For the most part this number in 1 time. Also 10 cents does not move the vast majority of Americans to return their drink bottles. (Note that soda botles in the 1960’s in Pittsburgh had 10 cent retrun deposits.) Ultimately piles and piles of plastic bottles are incinerated at an alarming rate through the region, buried in landfills through our the Hudson Valley and Capital district and help to form plastic islands in our oceans.

Consider the great alternatives

Try stainless steel water bottles.  You can get Kleen Kanteen with stainless lined caps.  Avoid plastic. Really, avoid plastic. Green buildings are bringing back water fountains. Better than ever these fountans include speialized spouts for filling water botles, bring a mug, fill it and relax knowing you have the best water around at nealy zero cost.

Do we need to carry water at all? We used to “go outside and play” and thirst was one of the great motivators for heading home to the kitchen. (Great opportunity for parents to check up on kids.)  We made it from the house to the mall, school or sports event without something to drink. (Maybe an hour, maybe 2 hours between hydration would be fine for most healthy people.)

Questions for you:

How have we been trained?

By whom?

Is it in our best interest?

Consider how your expectations and your children’s expectations have changed.